No Violence against Children is Justified

COLOMBO 07 June, 2020 – World Vision is deeply concerned about the recent acts of violence against children particularly violence that’s directed at children with disability. As a child-focused organization, World Vision reiterates that no violence against any child is justifiable under any circumstances, especially this being a challenging time. Some of these acts of violence are reported and some are not.

“Sri Lanka, as a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a child, should take all measures to support children in all aspects of life ensuring their development and considering that that no child can be prematurely called an adult,” says Kanishka Rathnayake, Technical Advisor for Child Protection at World Vision Lanka

“Punishment alone for those who engage in violence doesn’t help end violence against children,” he said, “There needs to be awareness created among adults especially parents, teachers, duty bearers in dealing with every child in a non-violent way no matter the circumstance.”

“In the recent incidents we saw how bystanders support these violent acts or choose to ignore,” he said. “Protection of children is everybody’s business. If you can’t help the child immediately, at least find help for him/her.”

Adverse childhood experiences have a direct effect on the well-being and the development of a child. A child who experiences cruelty will most likely approve of violence as an adult. This condition directly impacts the country’s overall development. National Child Protection Authority Child Helpline 1929 has had an increase of calls on violence against children during this lockdown.

Below are seven steps that can be taken when you are informed about acts of violence against children.

07 steps to take when a child informs you of assault

Remember the child is approaching you because he/she considers you a hero.

  1. Welcome the child without prejudice

Assault affects a child physically, emotionally and mentally and creates self-doubt.

The child needs to be welcomed and dealt with by people who are sensitive and empathetic to how she/he thinks.

  1. Welcome the child without prejudice

 Assault affects a child physically, emotionally and mentally and creates self-doubt.

The child needs to be welcomed and dealt with by people who are sensitive and empathetic to how she/he thinks.


  1. Listen to the child before offering any advice

Listen. Don’t interrupt Give opportunities to talk more. Encourage him/ her but don’t force her/him to talk. Ask open-ended questions (Ex: “Tell me more about…?” Or “How did you feel about…?”).

  1. Believe the child

Sometimes the story the child relates may be hard to believe. Since the child is not matured, he/she may not know how to explain the incident. Yet, let the child know that you believe him/her.You can probe for the truth later.

  1. Never blame the child

The child may feel disturbed and ashamed about the assault. This burden must be eased off.Since there is a tendency to pin blame on the child, it is important to understand that no assault in any circumstance is justifiable.

  1. Uplift the child

It takes a lot of courage to report. It’s important to give assurance to the child that you are proud of her/him and that she/he did the right thing. The child has a great need to be strengthened at this point.

6.The child’s consent should be prioritized before discourse with caregivers

Remember, it is the child who best knows her/his caregivers (parent/guardian, teachers, and/or officials).Therefore, discuss with the child about informing the incident to those in authority, so that the child can be assisted.

  1. Treat it confidential

Since this process is highly situational and sensitive, act in the best interest of the child.Inform the most relevant authorities only. Avoid gossiping. Ensure restoration.Depending on the gravity of the incident, refer the child to the nearest hospital. Avoid changing clothes and don’t bathe/clean the child, to preserve the evidence. The report from the medical officer is a crucial document during court proceedings.If you had made a complaint with the police or any other authorities, keep the reference number as it is vital to help you navigate the complaint process.